Nobody knows what the future will bring. It’s fascinating to see how people end up with the people they do, the jobs they do, and the things they give up along the way.
Boxing is a real skill that requires a great deal of practice, training, strength, and confidence to master.
Let’s look at 5 Nigerian celebrities who quit boxing to pursue a career in entertainment;
- Burna Boy
Before becoming a singer, Nigerian superstar singer Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu, also known as Burna Boy, was a boxer.
Burna Boy revealed during an online Zoom call with Nigerian-born New Zealand professional mixed martial artist Israel Adesanya, that if he wasn’t doing music, he would have been doing boxing instead because he was already doing it before taking up music.
- Martins Imhangbe
Martins Imhangbe, a Nigerian-born Hollywood actor, is best known for his role in the TV show Bridgerton was also a boxer in the past. Martins played Will Mondrich, a boxer on the TV show, and he revealed that he had to unlearn everything he knew about boxing to get into the role. Martins said of his boxing background and preparation for this role:
I worked out with a personal trainer three to four times per week, and we did a lot of strength and conditioning. We did a lot of boxing, and because boxing was different back then than it is now, I had to unlearn everything I knew about boxing and embrace this old-school style of boxing.
- Taiwo Hassan
Taiwo Hassan, also known as Ogogo in Nollywood, is another celebrity who used to be a boxer and still does so in his spare time. Taiwo revealed in an interview with Punch News:
I am nearly 60 years old and am used to being told that I look young; boxing is the secret to having this physique. I used to be a boxer and still box at home to stay in shape.
- Willie XO
Willie XO, a Nigerian musician, known for songs such as Comfort You and Kraze, revealed in an interview with the Saturday Tribune that he used to fight in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). Willie stated:
Before I got into music and signed with SBMG (Silent Billionaires Music Group), not many people knew I was a UFC fan. I had been into music for too long, and it wasn’t hitting the right notes for me, so I turned to UFC. I told my brother and parents, and my mother was concerned that I would be knocked out if I entered the UFC. I wasn’t concerned about that, but I was thinking about knocking people out, making money, and then returning to music because it is my passion.
I was supposed to have my first fight last year, but everything changed when I got a phone call saying that some people from SBMG wanted to sign me.
- John Okafor
Finally, Nigerian comedian John Okafor, also known as Mr. Ibu, used to be a boxer. Mr. Ibu opened up about his days as a boxer and why he left in an interview with Premium Times. Mr. Ibu stated;
I was a boxer once. I was doing well as a boxer until I went to Delta State for a championship. I was so badly beaten during the fight that I couldn’t even be recognized afterwards. I almost lost an eye due to the punches he threw at me. That was the incident that caused me to give up boxing.